Monday, August 29, 2016

Requiem for the All-Married Man's Club

Earlier this week I tweeted "Fiona is a 'disorganized tropical depression.' Now that I live in Florida, I'm all three of those things, too!"

I want to talk openly about depression, but I feel I can't do that. Some of that constraint is external and some of it is internal.

Externally, I get the feeling that most people with whom I associate still think of depression as a fancy name for being weak-willed or lazy or soft or neurotic. When I'm in one of my cyclical troughs and I show up at, say, a family gathering, I get attitude for harshing the celebratory buzz. Or if it's church, I get the "you probably need to repent or something" vibe.

Internally, I still carry the lessons of my formative years: that I'm seeking attention, or holding a pity party, or underhandedly seeking for compliments, or any number of ways to let me know that what is happening is wrong and needs to be hidden.

I had a "Personal Board of Directors" e-mail thing going on for about eight months, but it got to the point where the only new update I had was that I was still a failure, and my friends don't need that in their lives, right? I'm not much of a friend if I make them read that.

I have a theory: life is a constant process of relying on something other than God and having God show you that that thing is unreliable. This continues until you learn that you should rely solely on God, or until death (whichever comes first). Some people rely on terrible things: drugs, pornography. Some people rely on okay things: hobbies, work, sports teams. Some people rely on good things: family, friends. But when we ask them to fill the role that only God should fill, even the good things are false gods and we need to be shown that they are ultimately unreliable.

On the sidebar of my blog is one of my favorite quotes. It's from The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck. Since Blogger doesn't allow for HTML in a sidebar text box, it might not be clear what's going on.It's a conversation between Ethan and Joey. Joey speaks first.

"Story of my life. When the cards are down--no place to go. Nobody to talk to."

"You should get married."

"That's nobody to talk to in spades."

"Maybe you're right."

"Damn right I am. There's nobody as lonely as an all-married man."

I use the tag "All-Married Man's Club" for posts about these feelings. I had a vague idea once of sort of a group Personal Board of Directors called The All-Married Man's Club. It never really came about, I guess because everybody else in my circle of acquaintances doesn't have this problem: they all have relationships with God they way they're supposed to. It's only me who's crapping the bed of life.

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